Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Mystery Spot

  1. Jan 13, 2005 #1

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Time to debunk or bow to the Mystery Spot .

    Some pictures here and one more here.


    Anyone ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    See also, The Oregon Vortex
    http://www.oregonvortex.com/photographs.asp

    I used to have a list of similar sights but it must have been lost with my last computer. There was a similar vortex at Knotts Berry Farm, in Buena Park, Ca, but it seems that the vortex energy dissipated with diminishing ticket sales.

    Also
    http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/1097604/posts

    For an explanation from a master illusionist
    http://www.randi.org/jr/101003.html
     
  4. Jan 13, 2005 #3

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    One interesting note, some years ago a friend noted that the official Oregon Travel Guide cites this vortex as a genuine mystery of nature that has baffled physicists for decades. I was really tempted to threaten them with a fraud claim.
     
  5. Jan 13, 2005 #4

    chroot

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    These have been debunked many times. They are fake. When pressed (rather strongly), the tour guides will even admit it -- I've asked them. It's all done with unusual geometries that trick the brain into getting confused about spatial orientation. If you wanted, you could build an exact replica of the buildings in any place in the world you'd like, and they would be just as "mysterious."

    - Warren
     
  6. Jan 14, 2005 #5

    Chronos

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    Yep, 'gravity defying houses' can be found at amusement parks all around the US. It's a visual illusion. Once I visited such a site with a friend who was blind. He kept saying why isn't the floor level in here?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2005
  7. Jan 14, 2005 #6
    Should have sued them. It's the American way. ;-p

    I remember going to the one at Knott's when I was a kid.
     
  8. Jan 14, 2005 #7
  9. Jan 14, 2005 #8

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    They have one of those at Buffalo Joe's near the Royal Gorge bridge.

    Of course it's bunk, but it's fun bunk. We took a class of kids to Buffalo Joe's on a field trip and that house was the highlight of the whole trip. :rofl:
     
  10. Jan 14, 2005 #9

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I was at the Mystery Spot last month, a sudden decision while driving along Highway 1. So, I was unprepared for a thorough debunking.

    The problem with debunking stuff like this is that it spoils the fun for the rest of the group you're with - there's about 20 odd folks per group. So, after the first demonstration, where with two people standing on level ground (there's a regular spirit level on the floor, proving this), the person on the left looks taller even if they're both the same height. This is clearly a consequence of the guard rails in the immediate background climbing upwards to the right. After the guide did this demo and quickly moved on to the next spot, I verified that the people were in fact not getting taller or shorter, by picking up the level from the floor and holding it between the heads of two friends. Next ! :biggrin:

    A board is stuck into the weird house through the window. It looks like the board is sloping downwards into the house. This is verified by placing a little level on the outside end of the board. The board has a little groove running down its length. A billiard ball pushed down the board would be expected to roll down and fall off the end inside the house. The ball rolls to the end of the board, but slows down and rolls back...where it is snatched up by the guide. I considered the the board may not be flat, so could the guide please flip it over and repeat the demo, I asked nicely. He accepted and proceeded to flip the board, but about the wrong axis...he merely flipped ends. So I explained that I'd like to have him flip the top and bottom surfaces. He did this (reluctantly, I felt), but seeing that there was no groove on the bottom to keep the ball in place, he said this wouldn't work, as the ball would fall of the side. I offered him a stick of Chapstick instead...but we'd taken too much time here, and he had to move on to the next spot. :rolleyes:

    All the rest were really just clever tricks with perspective. There was one thing that troubled me though. There's this pendulum (large metallic ball suspended by rope, hanging from ceiling, down pretty close to the floor) that looks like it not hanging vertical. No big deal so far. But, it also looked like it was much harder to push in one direction than the other. There was a large group of little kids playing with this, so I didn't really get any personal time with it, but it was the cleverest one. Below the pendulum, there was a portion of false floor, but quickly holding my watch over it showed that there wasn't a giant magnet underneath.

    Anyone got an explanation for this ?
     
  11. Jan 14, 2005 #10

    chroot

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Gokul,

    Too bad I didn't know you were in the area -- I would have loved to have met you for dinner!

    Are you sure it held by rope? I remember chain. I believe the chain holding the pendulum actually has a couple of its links at the top welded together cleverly, making it move awkwardly.

    - Warren
     
  12. Jan 16, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    They had an illusion in the Haunted Shack, at Knotts, and I still don't know how they did it. It may be that I was just too young at the time, but what I remember was a water faucet suspended by two wires, with nothing else attached, but with water coming out of the spigot. I never did see how they pulled that one off. It seemed that you could view the entire apparatus. :confused:
     
  13. Jan 16, 2005 #12

    matthyaouw

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I've seen a couple of those. The wires are merely for show, and it is really supported by a clear plastic or glass tube going into the opening, with water being pumped up it and falling back down its sides, making it appear like it is working like an ordinary tap.
     
  14. Jan 16, 2005 #13

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I second that. Ivan, I bet they didn't let you shut off the tap !!
     
  15. Jan 17, 2005 #14
    Theres also a Mystery Spot in St Ignace, Michigan.

    When I saw the ball rolling uphill in the groove, (though I didn't get a chance to test it) I immediately thought that the groove must not be symmetric. If you have it dremeled such that the distance between the tops of the groove widens toward the end of the plank, then the ball would roll in that direction.
    I was 11 at the time I thought of this, and only did so because I had a game where you had to move a metal marble by using two supporting metal hard-wires. As you increased the distance on one side , but kept the other small, the ball would move. An effect of gravity and the path of least resistance.

    Man I used to be smart...what happened....(beer+college)


    Oh, and jsut to add, the restrictions on this are that the ball cannot move in the Z direction more than the radius of the ball. I was thinking about doign the math/physics behind it, but it would be a lot of work. And im lazy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2005
  16. Feb 25, 2005 #15
    how the pendulum works

    Here's how I am quite certain that it works. The pendulum hangs from a beam. At the top two cables go over the beam, maybe three inches apart. They join a few inches below the beam, and from where they join a single cable goes down several feet to the pendulum. The two cables at the top form a V shape, with the beam at the top to form a triangle. So ... the pendulum naturally wants to swing perpendicular to the plane formed by the cable V, because that is the path of least resistance. But the guide pushes the pendulum roughly horizontal to the plane instead. The pendulum swings but gradually self-corrects until it is swinging perpendicular to that plane.

    How does that sound?
     
  17. Feb 26, 2005 #16
    here's a photo that shows what I mean


    See how the pendulum is attached in this photo:
    http://mdofit.com/albums/manasi/Aspan_acting_weird_at_Mystery_Spot.jpg
    It wants to swing perpendicular to the plane created by the two cables at the top, because that's the way the forces are most evenly distributed and therefore there's the least resistance. When I get a chance I want to build a miniature version and test my theory, but I was just there two days ago and haven't had a chance yet.
     
  18. Feb 26, 2005 #17

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Has anyone been to Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick Canada?

    If you stop, put your car into neutral and let off the brake, your car will drift uphill, gaining speed as it goes.

    Explanation:
    The effect is, of course, an optical delusion. What appears to be a slight uphill grade is really downhill. The illusion is due to an abnormally close horizon caused by hilly terrain. It confuses the senses about where the horizon is, and consequently what can be judged as uphill vs. downhill. It is coupled with some illusion-enhancing tricks, such as having you stay in your car, letting you try it only once, and having you drift backwards, rather than forwards.
     
  19. Feb 26, 2005 #18

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think I get what you're saying, but am not convinced that it explains the "evidence" - it's easier to push in one direction than in the opposite direction.. According to your explanation, the sideways direction should be easier than the forwards-and-back direction. But this doesn't explain why forwards is easier than back...does it ? Or am I misundersanding your idea ?

    Might the slope of the floor trick you into perceiving the pushing force differently ? That's one possibility that came to my mind.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Mystery Spot
  1. Mystery Spot (Replies: 7)

  2. The Mystery of Sound (Replies: 23)

  3. Thanksgiving Mystery (Replies: 16)

  4. The Mysterious Box (Replies: 3)

Loading...